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White House Taps Petersen for FEC

The White House on Thursday said it will nominate Matt Petersen for a Republican seat on the Federal Election Commission.

An aide on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, Petersen would fill a vacancy left by Hans von Spakovsky, the embattled former Justice Department lawyer who withdrew his nomination last week. Petersen’s term would run until 2011.

His nomination also would fill out a five-nominee slate that is likely to revive the FEC. He would join pending Democratic nominees Cynthia Bauerly and Steven Walther and Republican picks Caroline Hunter and Don McGahn.

Democrat Ellen Weintraub is the FEC’s only remaining commissioner at the moment.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today praised the choice of Petersen, who was a former staffer on the House Administration Committee.

“The White House acted quickly in nominating Matthew Petersen to fill the sixth and final slot on the Federal Election Commission. This prompt action provides a path toward seating a fully functioning, bipartisan commission,” McConnell said in a statement. “I appreciate the promise of the Majority Leader for a speedy review of Mr. Petersen’s record and look forward to his swift and successful confirmation.”

Senate Rules panel spokesman Howard Gantman said the scheduling of Petersen’s confirmation hearing is on hold until his nomination is officially received from the White House.

The White House has “not sent us the nomination and even though we have asked, they have not told us how long they intend to take in finalizing the nomination,” Gantman commented in an e-mail.

“Once we get the official nomination and the accompanying clearance information, we will seek to expedite this nomination,” he added. “In the meantime, we would hope that the minority would allow the other nominations to be approved by the Senate so we can have the FEC up and running again.”

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